109 Post Axle Fitting

Today I finished bleeding the brakes, adding the Discovery reservoir cap and level sensor to the existing brake failure warning circuit, and took the 109 for an inspection at my local MoT station for a thorough check of all the work.  The result was good with a very contented verdict.  The brake test, carried out on rollers, showed even braking on each axle.  I’m not happy with the amount of braking achieved, even though the mechanic (who built, maintains and races his own Series 750 race car) thinks it’s due to the newness of the brake discs and pads.  I think it’s more to do with the mismatch between the SIII master cylinder and the Discovery callipers, so even though I know a few people who have had success with this configuration, I will try it with the Discovery servo and Defender master cylinder.  The steering feels a little lighter than before all the work and has a vastly improved lock.  The uprated front springs still seem compliant but a bit more stable.

After finishing at the test, I took the 109 and the RRC alloy wheels to the tyre fitters to have the BFGs swapped across and the new wheels balanced.  The result is very smart, and I don’t think it’s too “bling” even for this Series vehicle.  I modified the bonnet spare retaining ring for the alloy wheel by arc-welding three wheel studs to the old flat (steel wheel) retainer, saving £78+VAT on a new alloy wheel retainer from Land Rover.  It works well, though fitting the nuts to the studs is a bit tricky, just like on the back door. Anyway, here are a few photos of its new look, complete with a colour co-ordinated Union Flag I got from Billing on the rear body:

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  1. Nick – what have you done to the back door, to help it hold the weight of the spare?

    Mine’s got a third hinge, a fishtail, and an antiburst lock, as well as a diagonal strap welded on the frame. But it still flexes audibly.

  2. Nothing at all – it’s a standard early Defender door with three hinges and an anti-burst lock, but it doesn’t even have the brass wedge below the lock that the SIII door had. It does creak a little and the lower left corner rubs the door sill (I think that is the source of the creak), but the noise is small and unobtrusive. The NATO hitch contact the tyre with the door closed, so could be taking some of the weight…

  3. Glad you got the brakes sorted in the end mate. What overall percentage did it achieve on the RBT for the footbrake?

    The tyres and wheels look good, need to get my alloys refurbed soon.


  4. Hi Neil,

    The brakes got about half way around the scale on the test, but it wasn’t callibrated in percentages. I don’t know what the values were, but the braking was horrible, even marginally dangerous for normal road use. It’s all sorted now with a Defender master cylinder – the whole system is now made of compatible hydraulic parts and the braking is incredible.

    I got my wheels refurbished at Pristine Alloys in Woburn Sands. They did a fantastic job at just over £60 per wheel. I’m pleased to recommend them.


  5. i just wanted to say: u have one nice LR there!

  6. Thank you!

  7. Hi Nick. That’s a great looking Landy! I stumbled across your blog looking for advice on axles as I’m just about to swap my standard defender axles for some disco mk1 axles. Thanks for all the info on your blog. I’ve bookmarked your page now and will be back regularly.

  8. Hi Phil

    Thank you.

    If you have a 90, then the axle swap is fine. If you have a 110, the Discovery rear axle won’t be strong enough and the rear prop won’t fit. Discovery brakes are also smaller than a 110’s, but are the same as a 90’s. You will have to look into the brake master cylinder and any bias valves on a conversion to upgrade from drum rear brakes – discs operate at higher pressure, so a pre-300Tdi master cylinder may not work properly with a disc braked rear axle. I’m pretty sure all 90s have a bossing valve to slightly reduce the pressure to the rear lines, just like in a Discovery or RRC, to prevent lock-up of the rear wheels first.


  9. Maurice Wanink says:

    Hi Nick,

    Nice looking Landy! Are the axels standard series with wheelspacers?

    Grz. Maurice Wanink from Holland.

  10. Hi Maurice

    The rear axle is from a 110, converted to disc brakes, and the front from a Discovery. They were modified to fit the 109 leaf sprung suspension. The work is all covered in a series of posts in the axle section of this blog.

    Tbanks for taking an interest in the site – I hope it is useful to you.


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